FG imposes 6% tax on digital non-resident companies

FG imposes 6% tax on digital non-resident companies

The Federal Government has announced that, as provided in the 2021 Finance Act, offshore companies providing digital services to local customers in Nigeria will be charged a 6% tax on turnover.

This was disclosed by the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, during the public presentation and breakdown of the 2022 budget held in Abuja on Wednesday.

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Ahmed also revealed that as of November 2021, the government had surpassed all independent revenue collections from 2017 to date, which she claimed reflected the success of the government’s revenue-growth initiatives.

“We have now for the first time surpassed the 1 trillion mark collection for independent revenues (N1.104tn) collected as at November against a budget target of 973.41bn). Analysts have always considered our projections unrealistic, but we have always insisted on the potentials that exist to grow FGN independent revenues,” she said.

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She went on to explain that the tax on digital services includes apps, high frequency trading, electronic data storage, and online advertising, and that “this is introducing turnover tax on a fair and reasonable basis.”

Section 30 of the Finance Act contains the new policy, which amends Sections 10, 31, and 14 of the Finance Act regarding VAT obligations for non-resident digital companies.

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The new law, according to her, applies to foreign companies that provide digital services such as apps, high-frequency trading, electronic data storage, online and advertising, among other things.

She stated that, in accordance with Section 4 of the Finance Act, non-resident companies are now required to pay a 6% tax on their turnover.

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The minister, who stated that the government wanted to modernize taxes for its digital economy and improve compliance, stated that digital non-resident companies would not need to be registered locally but would have an agreement with the Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS) to collect and remit taxes in order to reduce the compliance burden.

She also revealed that the federal government has imposed a N10 per litre excise duty on all non-alcoholic, carbonated, and sweetened beverages in the country.

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The beverage tax, according to the minister, was included in the Finance Act, which was signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari on December 31, 2021, along with the 2022 Appropriation Bill.

The new sugar tax, according to the minister, was implemented to increase excise duties and revenues for health-related and other critical expenditures in line with the budget priorities for 2022.

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According to her, the goal was to discourage excessive sugar consumption in beverages, which contributed to diabetes, obesity, and other diseases, as well as raise excise duties and revenues for the health sector, as part of the Finance Act.

She also said that a provision had been made under the Act to reinforce the FIRS mandate as the principal tax collection agency while collaborating with other law enforcement Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).

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Speaking further, Ahmed expressed the preparedness of the federal government to conduct the national population and housing census, which was last held in Nigeria over 15 years ago.

Ahmed had in November last year disclosed that the sum of N178.09 billion had been approved for the national population census in the 2022 budget.

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The minister disclosed that necessary budgetary allocation had been made and every machinery put in motion to conduct the exercise, adding that it was left for the National Population Commission (NPC) to draw up a timetable.

Ahmed also revealed that Nigeria’s independent revenue surpassed the N1 trillion mark in 2021, due to the implementation of the 2020 Finance Act.

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On fuel subsidy, the minister said as provided by the Petroleum Industry Act, all petroleum products must be deregulated.

Flowing from this, she said subsidy was provided for subsidy up to June after which full deregulation comes on stream.

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The minister stated that subsidy was provided up to June to allow ongoing consultations with various stakeholders, including organised labour to be concluded

On how to mitigate the impact of the subsidy removal, Zainab said a committee set up by government to work out measures that would cushion the effect on Nigerians, especially the vulnerable ones would make recommendations on the way out.

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President Muhammadu Buhari had signed the 2022 Appropriation Bill of N17.13 trillion into law on December 31, 2021 having laid the proposal before the National Assembly on October 7, 2021.

The president had also signed the 2021 finance bill into law on same day.

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The two chambers had increased the spending plan by N735.8 billion from the proposed N16.391tn to N17.126 trillion. They had also raised the oil benchmark from $57 per barrel proposed by the executive to $62.

The National Assembly had also fixed oil production at 1.88 million barrels per day, exchange rate at N410.15 to the dollar, GDP at 4.2 percent and inflation at 13 percent.

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In his presentation, the Executive Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Mr. Muhammad Nami, disclosed that about N6.4 trillion was collected by as taxes by the service last year.

Also, in his virtual presentation, the Group Managing Director Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mr. Mele Kyari, said the country now produces 1.74 million barrels of crude oil per day.

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But he said the security situation in the country had cut the figures to 1.5 million barrels about three months ago before the latest improvement.

He said, “Three months ago we came down to 1.5 million barrels per day because of security issues and we are responding to it.

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“As of today production has increased to 1.74 million barrels per day and there are ongoing interventions to better the situation on security.

“The expectations are that within the month, we will get to 1.8 million barrels per day and exceed the limit within the year.”

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